Evaluating your readiness for retirement

Are you sure your target retirement age aligns with your financial status?

In today’s fast-paced world, the concept of retirement often takes a back seat. For many, it remains a distant reality, mired by uncertainties and apprehensions. However, planning for retirement is an essential aspect of financial planning, which warrants attention from an early age.

Retirement is a phase many of us eagerly anticipate, dreaming of the day when we can step away from the grind and immerse ourselves in activities that bring us joy. Yet, the reality of retiring often hinges on financial preparedness. Let’s delve into four critical considerations to help you evaluate your readiness for retirement.

Envisioning your ideal retirement
The first crucial step towards planning for retirement is identifying what you want your post-retirement life to look like. Remember, there’s no universal blueprint for retirement – everyone’s aspirations differ.

Some might fancy the idea of relocating abroad, embarking on globetrotting adventures or pursuing new hobbies. Others might prefer spending more time with their loved ones. A growing trend is the ‘phased’ or gradual transition to retirement, which involves reducing work hours or shifting to part-time roles or consultancy.

The cost of retiring
Once you have a clear vision of your retirement lifestyle, it’s time to estimate the associated costs. Broadly, your expenses will fall into two categories: essentials and non-essentials.

Essentials encompass mortgage payments, rent, utility bills, insurance, groceries and gifts for occasions like birthdays and Christmas. Non-essential expenses revolve around entertainment, leisure activities and holidays – the extras that add zest to life.

Financial advice can assist you in calculating these expenses and estimating the retirement income required to cover them. We can also help you understand how your income needs may fluctuate over time, starting high during the early retirement years, gradually decreasing and possibly increasing again later due to care-related costs.

Determining your pension size
Once you have a clear understanding of your post-retirement income requirements, the next step is to calculate the size of the pension that can generate that income. This involves considering factors like life expectancy, investment growth, tax and inflation.

We can help you with these calculations and demonstrate the impact of various scenarios or choices, such as adjusting your retirement income, weighing the advantages and pitfalls of taking your tax-free cash lump sum or changing your retirement age.

Evaluating your current savings
Finally, compare your retirement needs with your current savings. If your savings are on track to meet your goals, it’s time to strategise how to access your money during retirement.

If there’s a shortfall in your savings, don’t panic. There are several strategies to boost your pension. You could consider increasing your pension contributions, extending your working years or leveraging other savings and investments.

Combining additional pension contributions, tax relief and investment growth can bolster your pension pot significantly. Additionally, don’t overlook other sources of retirement income, such as Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) and the State Pension. We can provide a comprehensive view of your assets and potential income sources, helping you make informed decisions.